The term agoraphobia is Greek for ‘fear of the market place’. In this context though, as fear of busy or crowded locations. People who suffer from agoraphobia can also suffer claustrophobia, a fear of enclosed spaces. Although you can be agoraphobic without suffering claustrophobia.
The first attack.
Agoraphobia often stems from when a person has a panic attack in a public location. The trigger behind the first panic attack usually has nothing to do with the busy location. But it’s the busy location that has become a catalyst for a panic attack to manifest. Due to the pure fear experienced when someone has a panic attack, they may go to extreme lengths to avoid having another one. As a consequence, the person may start to avoid all public places to keep themselves safe from another panic attack happening. As the person is so on edge, a panic attack that first appeared when standing in a super market queue, may now appear in a busy pub due to how our amygdala works.
Pattern matching – getting it right and wrong.
Due to the nature of the amygdala within our brain, we pattern match to help keep us safe. Unfortunately this process is very primitive. If we have a panic attack in a supermarket queue, we may find that we have another panic attack whilst standing on a crowded train. The amygdala’s ability to accurately pattern match is extremely poor. The reason it is so inefficient, is because it has to react in a split second to keep you safe. It cannot take an age working out if you are in danger or not. If it does you may have been struck by a speeding car before it works out you are about to be hit.
Due to the way that we pattern match, we can make any place that is busy, appear to be dangerous. The person then decides it’s safer to just stay at home and you can’t argue at all with that logic. Who would want to go outside if their chances of a panic attack were high?
To combat Agoraphobia, all we need is to have a good understanding of how the amygdala works and how it perceives threats. Understanding how to stay calm when our body is reacting is the key. Agoraphobia doesn’t mean a prison sentence for life in your own home and it can be combated.
BWRT is one of the quickest solutions available to resolve agoraphobia.
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